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Languid language learning (Team Advanced)

  Tags: Swedish | German | French
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Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3733 days ago

239 posts - 327 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Swedish, Esperanto

 Message 41 of 129
21 November 2014 at 1:12pm | IP Logged 
I haven't been active here for a very long while, mostly because I haven't been active
with my languages for a very long while. My friend, sadly, did not keep up with
messaging me in German. I don't like to push her for two reasons: she is a friend, not
a language resource or a conversation partner, and (this swiftly leads on to reason
two) I don't know enough for us to have a reciprocal conversation in German. We both
also have quite a lot on our plates. She is doing a law masters over here and studying
Japanese, I am finishing off my degree and trying not to do so badly with French this
year as I have in previous years.

Obviously, French gets a lot of my attention, and it seems it is set to get a lot more
as I have somehow become committed to introducing not one, not two but three young
children to French. I say introducing because I certainly am not qualified enough to
actually teach. Besides, the oldest child, my niece, is only five. I'm quite happy to
read picture books, teach songs and basic things like colours, numbers and names of
adjectives, but I know that motivation and also my poor grammar would make more than
that an issue. At least now I have yet another reason to practice grammar.

Swedish and German have more or less been on the backburner, apart from very passive
exposure. I have occasionally listened to a few audio lessons as my itunes shuffles
through my music library, and I've read a little bit as well as more or less keeping on
top of Anki. But that's it: there has not been anything that I've properly engaged
with, apart from trying to help a friend puzzle her way through a particularly tricky
German translation. As I'm sure anyone can imagine, I wasn't much help.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3733 days ago

239 posts - 327 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Swedish, Esperanto

 Message 42 of 129
21 November 2014 at 9:22pm | IP Logged 
Oh! I forgot to include in the update that I've been watching I Mumindalen
whenever I have time, particularly as I get ready in the mornings for late lectures. I
only understand enough to get the gist most of the time, but even that is amazing to
me, as I couldn't 'get this gist' of French native media even after five years of
study. Every now and again, I force myself to take stock of my Swedish progress. It is
easy for me to negate it all, as in the grand scheme of things what I have achieved
isn't much, and if I was consistent with any of my methods I know I could have achieved
so much more. But I definitely have progressed and I feel that the results of
gotten out are fantastic considering the work I've put in'.

Although I hate to ruin that miniature motivational statement by tacking this on, I
also feel compelled to state that I've also been listening to a lot of French music.
This means that I am listening to less Swedish music, but such is life. My friend
introduced me to a French artist who I actually like, which is rare. It's hard to find
French music I enjoy, and not really knowing any artists makes it even more difficult
to find new people to listen to. The artist in question is Zaz, and the song that made
me fall in love with her is 'Si je perds', which is beautiful but also sad. I'm
learning to sing it, although I'm finding the melody pretty difficult to get a handle
on. Mais courage! I'll win through eventually!

Edited by Elenia on 28 November 2014 at 12:53pm

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3733 days ago

239 posts - 327 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Swedish, Esperanto

 Message 43 of 129
28 November 2014 at 1:08pm | IP Logged 
I've stepped my game up quite a bit since last lesson. As usual, I've been keeping up
with anki, and I have added a few more words for Swedish and French as well as changing
a heap more of my cards from passive to active (with answers, which makes it a lot
easier, and a lot more fun). I am also going through my vocabulary on Lingq, and
updating all the things I know. I haven't used Lingq properly since I reverted to free
membership, as there's kind of no point. However, it is great to go back and find out
how much I've learnt.

I have also read a little bit more from Alles Sense. When I say 'a little', I
really do mean just a teeny, tiny bit. Everytime I start, I read from the very
beginning as I've found that really helps me learn the words I'm reading. I have not
done any course book work in a very long time, however.

Finally, I've discovered Readlang! I'm probably so late to the party, but I love it. I
have uploaded a French Pratchett translation, Carpe Jugulum, and I'm reading
through at a good pace. I think I will give up with Trois Soeurcières. I'm
finding the French incredibly slow going for some reason and recently reread the
English, which has made the French like pulling teeth.

And to end on a happy note: I got back a marked French translation from school, and got
a 70 for it. The marking system here is quite stupid, so for my subject it is VERY
unlikely that anyone would ever get above an 80, even though everything it out of one
hundred. Therefore, I am very happy with that grade.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3733 days ago

239 posts - 327 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Swedish, Esperanto

 Message 44 of 129
02 December 2014 at 7:46pm | IP Logged 
Today and yesterday have been pretty stressful, as I have had two French exams. The first
was a marked debate in which I made a very embarrassing factual error that I won't bore
you with. I made all the same mistakes I usually make, otherwise, which is annoying. My
biggest problem is with accords. No matter how much I try to remedy this hen writing, I
still make more errors than I should in speaking. I guess I could always speak more
slowly, but I find that hard enough to do in casual conversation. I forget words and the
point of my sentence.

The second exam, today, was a commentary of an editorial about a proposed ban of e-
cigarettes. That was probably not so good, but mostly because of my own failure to
organise my thoughts, rather than (I hope!) any actual language failures!
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3733 days ago

239 posts - 327 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Swedish, Esperanto

 Message 45 of 129
07 December 2014 at 12:00am | IP Logged 
I spent a good chunk of last night looking up Masters degrees in comparative literature
across Europe. My current fancy is Leiden university, which seems like it would be cool
if I could get in. I made heavy use of Readlang while going through the university and
town websites, which means I have a fair amount of dutch flashcards just waiting for me
to give in and study them.

Otherwise. I have been feeling, in a remote kind of way, that the month of November
would have been better spent for me if I had decided to do the 6 week challenge for
Swedish. Although Nano was a bunch of fun, and if was great to see faces that I hadn't
seen in over a year, there is no escaping the fact that I wasn't very productive. Then
again, not studying Swedish properly gives me an excuse to not attempt to speak the
language in public when I'm there. I did read through a chapter of FSI, however. I
didn't listen through it, as I wasn't prepared to dedicate that much energy but I feel
like I would have been able to understand most of the dialogue. I feel like the
(proportionally) massive amount of Swedish listening I have done over the past four to
six months has helped push me forward, so that what holds me back most is a lack of

I haven't done any coursework for German, but my German friend finally paid me a visit
today, and I read a little bit of Alles Sense to her. I've mentioned before that
I find that a particularly fun way to read, although I'm sure she wouldn't agree. The
combination of one native German speaker, and one native Pratchett speaker seems to
work pretty well for us!

Otherwise, it has been anki repetitions all the way, with no serious work done for
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 4410 days ago

1546 posts - 3200 votes 
Studies: German

 Message 46 of 129
07 December 2014 at 10:55am | IP Logged 
I only discovered Readlang about a month ago. It's a really cool site isn't it?
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3733 days ago

239 posts - 327 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Swedish, Esperanto

 Message 47 of 129
04 January 2015 at 12:25pm | IP Logged 
@patrickwillen - it's more than cool: I think I'm in love!


My trip to Sweden was pretty uneventful, on the language learning side. Most of my
efforts were actually focussed on French, as I had an essay to write on a few French
novels. However, it was gorgeous, and I managed to navigate my way through buying train
tickets without once switching to English, which is a plus. (An easy plus, as I bought
all tickets on a machine, but I'll take my confidence boosts wherever I can!)

I've found that Anki isn't working as well for Swedish right now, aäthough it's still
helpful for German and French. So I've turned back to reading. I'm still on Låt den
rätta komma in (I'm a really lazy reader), but my friend bought me Inkheart in both
English and German for my birthday. She stayed over with me for a couple of days, so I
read to her in German and she read to me in English. It was quite fun, and somehow I
managed to get the gist of what was happening - through blind luck mostly.


Remember that time when I said words to this effect: 'I don't make resolutions, blah
blah blah'? Well, that was before I somehow found myself all signed up for this years
TAC 2015 with TEAM ADVANCED starts here.

Edited by Elenia on 04 January 2015 at 4:36pm

1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
United Kingdom
Joined 3733 days ago

239 posts - 327 votes 
Speaks: English*, French
Studies: German, Swedish, Esperanto

 Message 48 of 129
05 January 2015 at 5:05pm | IP Logged 
TAC Mission Statement

Motivation and goals

I decided, on a whim, to sign up for the TAC with French because I feel I've let my French languish long enough. In fact, it has more
than languished: it is stagnating. I find myself doing only as much work as I need to for my courses, and I want to change this.

I'd put myself at a tentative B2 level, with very occasional forays into C1 territory (although I tend to back myself out pretty
I'd like to improve every aspect of my French, with particular attention paid to writing and speaking. I would like to be a more
confident speaker by the end of the year, paying particular attention to conversational French, my weakest point. I would also like to
be able to write fiction in French.
With regards to the passive skills, I aim to improve my comprehension of songs and colloquial French (things like Caméra Café and Bref).
I am still on my journey to make reading in French less painful.


INTENSE GRAMMAR STUDY. Grammar is something I have neglected for all the time that I have studied French, and my poor knowledge and
understanding of the way that the language works is a big part of the reason why I don't grab at any opportunities to speak. It's time
to finally take my massive Granville Prince Grammar book off my shelves and really get down to business. I will also make use of
The Ultimate French Review and Practice and my Schaum's French Grammar, as well as the pages of exercises from La
Grammaire Progressive
which a teacher less-than-legally gave me.

SPEAKING. I currently have an hour long oral class for French every week. This is all very well and good, however this class is
specifically designed to train my argumentative skills, rather than my conversational skills. Therefore, I will try really hard
to attend meetups. I am in the enviable position of living in London, which is apparently the city the third largest population of
French speakers in the world, or something like that.* There are at least three meetups where I should be able to speak French, at least
two of which will definitely put me in contact with real, live French people (and one which will even make them speak to me!). Other
than this, I will keep my eyes open for tandem opportunities within my university, and take to Gumtree to find a language exchange, if I
have to. Once I am finished with university, I may even throw some money down on a tutor. I will also try to make real, live French
friends who want to talk to me in French - easier said than done!

WRITING. I will start off by translating a short, chaptered fairy tale into French, before moving onto translating other pieces of my
own work. Alongside this, I will (hopefully) start a writing project in French. I will have French speakers I know play editor for my
work. I may return to Lang8, but I'm making to promises.

READING. I will read more this year. I will try not to be too ambitious, as I am a lazy reader even in English. I will make a note of
pages read for papers books and magazines, words read for online and other digital media wherever possible. I will continue reading
Pratchett in French, making heavy use of Readlang. I will also try to move on to the many Classics I have in French. I will not shirk
away from rereading the 'easy' ones. I will also try to read more online literature in French. Most BDs don't interest me very much, and
I have trouble remembering to read them, but I will make an effort. I will also read articles, mostly to do with literature in one
capacity or another, with occasional journeys into food and general health.

LISTENING. I will make heavy use of LyricsTraining in order to get my musical comprehension up. I will restart watching Les
, and find something else I enjoy to watch in French after this. I will watch French language YouTubers and BookTubers,
such as Cyprien and Normanfaitdesvideos, in order to improve my understanding of faster colloquial speech.


ANKI. I will continue using Anki to drill the new words I find. I will try to make an effort to use these words in my own writing and


All this focus on French does not mean that I will give up on my other languages. I try to use French as my base language for German
wherever possible, which makes German study guilt free and somewhat productive. I have three German books lined up for this year:
Alles Sense, by Pratchett, which is very much a leftover from Last Year; Tintenherz, by Funke, which a friend gave to me
as a gift for my birthday and, last but not least, Der Hobbit by Tolkien, which I plan on reading as part of a read-a-long.
Otherwise, I will knuckle back down to my Studio D coursebook like a good girl. I may do a 6 Week Challenge in German at some point.

Swedish is my baby, and more often than not it takes care of itself. I will try to set aside time to get back into the habit of watch
Swedish media, starting with the documentary Freak Out!, which is currently on SVT Play. I will also try to attend some of the
monthly meet ups with a Swedish group here in London. They have one in particular which caters to people of all levels, and the group is
a mixture of Swedish natives and learners, so that should be good for me. I will, of course, also continue to read. I'll almost
definitely do a 6 Week Challenge in Swedish.

Finally, Esperanto will probably come back into play at some point. I am not yet sure whether I want to place it as higher priority than
Dutch as a fourth language for the year. Whichever of the two I choose, learning will not be particularly intense.

*DISCLAIMER: I'm probably wrong here. Don't quote me on this.

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